PAMM Replaces Patric Blanc's Hanging Gardens with Fake Plants

Pérez Goes Plastic

John Hill
7. May 2024
Patric Blanc's Hanging Gardens as they appeared in 2015. (Photo: Paolo Gamba/Flickr)

Writing about their design in 2013, Herzog & de Meuron explained that the museum was “lifted off the ground for the art to be placed above storm surge level,” such that “the stilts supporting the museum platform become columns supporting a shading canopy, which covers the entire site creating a veranda-like public space that welcomes visitors to the museum and the park.” This veranda-like space was the setting for Patric Blanc's Hanging Gardens, which were made up of 67 tubes made from fiberglass, mesh, and felt and covered with more than 54,000 plants. Blanc's site-specific gardens were so integral to the building that news outlets were covering their construction before the museum opened to the public in December 2013:

But, “after a series of troubles maintaining the plants,” Clifford Pearson reports at Architectural Record, “PAMM started replacing them in August 2022 and completed all 67 columns by fall 2023.” The gardens were fine until around 2018, according to Herzong & de Meuron partner Christine Binswanger and Blanc himself, when some of the cylinders, which were irrigated via collected rainwater, started dripping. The plants suffered, the article contends, when a new maintenance crew was introduced around the same time. “Every garden needs care,” said Binswanger. “The maintenance regime has to be right and there needs to be a certain amount of love.”

Photo: Screenshot from “Pérez Museum in Miami Replaces Hanging Garden with Plastic Plants” at Architectural Record

The replacement “gardens,” which were made with a hybrid solution of artificial moss and ivy with a few native plants, per The Plant Guy, look absurd compared to the original, at least in photos, with Blanc going so far as to say, “They might as well have just painted the columns green.”

The comments from Binswanger and Blanc, who were not consulted on PAMM's remedy, echoes another recent headline: Mary Miss suing the Des Moines Art Center because it did not maintain her installation, Greenwood Pond: Double Site, and is planning to demolish it. Both stories highlight the importance of cultural landscapes but also the imperative to maintain and care for them properly over time.

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